Page 5 - PN139
P. 5

 POPULAR Bookstore in Malaysia opened at the junction of Jalan Cecil and Jalan Sultan in Kuala Lumpur. We started reaping the success after six years of hard work by Popular Malaysia’s Executive Director, Ms Lim Lee Ngoh, and set our sights on Penang, the Pearl of the Orient. Coinciding with the centenary of the Library of Penang Chinese Town Hall in 1991, then Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Khoon, who was also a consultant on the committee, and Yee Lai Lan, the Library’s director then who is now Popular Malaysia’s Area Manager of Perak, took charge of organising a book fair and attracting vendors as part of celebrations. At the same time, POPULAR used the book fair as a means of testing the Penang book market. With the unprecedented success of the book fair paving the way, POPULAR firmed up plans for an imminent store opening. Kicking Off a New Wave Penang’s first POPULAR Bookstore opened in August 1991 in Komtar Shopping Centre, the most beautiful and cutting-edge shopping mall of the time. The opening ceremony was graced by Dr Koh's wife. At the time, the bookstores in Penang were largely small-scale operations that were open only until 6pm on weekdays and were closed during weekends. In contrast, the POPULAR Bookstore in the trendy Komtar Shopping Centre was open 12 hours every day all year round. Covering some 10,900 square feet, fully air-conditioned and featuring a bilingual bookstore concept, the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore was a breath of fresh air for both Penangites and the Penang book industry. From the start, the store brought in a large number of English books from abroad. These books at special prices proved to be a hit, standing out from the crowd and bringing new horizons to the readers. The Changing Face of Komtar It is said that no matter where you are in the city district, you will never be lost if you head in the direction of Komtar. To Penangites, Komtar was formerly a hub for government departments. To tourists, Komtar was once the brightest star among all the malls in northern Malaysia. There was even a popular saying that one had not truly been to Penang Island without a stop at Komtar Shopping Centre. With the turn of the century, Komtar lost some of its lustre, and POPULAR decided to pull out of the shopping centre in 2004. A Celebrated Return The political situation in Penang in 2008 brought great vicissitudes, and the winds of change even turned around the waning fortunes of Komtar. As the Pakatan Rakyat government came to power in Penang, Komtar was subject to vigorous revitalisation, attracting a wide range of vendors and injecting new life to the shopping centre as a technology hub. Businesses flocked back to the shopping centre. Impressed by the dedicated efforts of the government, POPULAR made a comeback in Komtar after six years, with a brand-new look that once again changed the landscape for the booklovers of Penang in May 2010. Having been a part of the lives of Penangites for 30 years, the POPULAR Komtar Bookstore bids farewell. 陪伴槟城人30年的光大大众书局,辉煌与众告别。 By Yee Lai Lan (Malaysia) 文:余丽兰(马来西亚) 139 popularnews - 5 

   3   4   5   6   7